There is no easy and straight forward answer to this question. This is largely dictated by the product type and retailer. So, it’s time to start asking questions, and the earlier you start asking, the better so that it saves you time and resources to determine if the product is one you even want to invest in and/or if the retailer is one you wish to do business with.
For example, when Psi Bands appeared on QVC a few years ago, they made us perform and pass a qualified “drop test”. The drop test was to ensure that if during shipping and/or fulfillment the package were to drop (be kicked, tossed, juggled by the shipping carrier), that the package could withstand some banging around without breakage. While you might not consider this a “safety” issue, the point is that you might encounter tests that you never even dreamed you might have to pass as a pre-qualifier to doing business.
Who to ask about product safety requirements:
- The association that governs your category, if there is one. For example, if you are selling/wish to sell into the juvenile channel, visit the JPMA website: http://jpma.org/
- Ask other entrepreneurs selling in the same category. Email them, connect on social media, or walk a tradeshow as a guest (you don’t have to be an exhibitor). At the tradeshow, go introduce yourself to fellow entrepreneurs, who for the most part love helping other entrepreneurs (but do it when their booth is empty of potential buyers. i.e. be respectful of their space/time. If they are constantly busy, then ask if you may have their business card and be in touch with them post tradeshow). Also, association members may have a booth so reach out to them there.
- Ask a rep in the same space as the one you are selling/wish to sell in for their input. If you don’t have a rep, ask other entrepreneurs for introductions to one of their reps so you have a better chance of receiving a reply.
- Ask the buyers themselves who you have a relationship with or meet at a tradeshow.